Tuesday, April 7, 2015

The Theory Of Everything (2014), The Movie Which Touched My Heart!

The Theory of Everything
 'It is clear that we are just an advanced breed of primates as a minor planet, orbiting around a very average star in the outer suburb of one among 100 billion galaxies.  But ever since the dawn of civilization, people have craved for an understanding of the underlying order of the world.  There ought to be something very special abut the boundary conditions of the Universe.  And what can be more special than that, there is no boundary.  And there should be no boundary to human endeavour.  We are all different.  However bad life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at.  While there is life, there is Hope.'

The above words were shown at the end of the movie, which brought tears in my eyes.  Very sensible words.  

I noticed this movie being nominated in many sections in the Academy Award ceremony.  The main character, Stephen Hawking was played by Eddie Redmayne and he won the Best Actor award, which he deserves.  I saw the clippings and wanted to watch this movie.  But was a bit nervous knowing that they might show how Hawking suffered because of his illness.  But the movie was picturized so well that Stephen Hawking's intelligence, sense of humour etc. still remains in my mind even after a day!

All of you must be knowing that Stephen Hawking, a Physicist and Cosmologist,  is 73 years old now, still living with all the drawbacks in his health, had written many famous books and is world famous.  This movie is based on his story. No, it isn't remotely like a documentary movie, but is full of life! It is not depressive because this man has got great sense of humour which is shown in many frames. I know I am repeating this aspect of the movie! I seem to talk about the movie to everyone who comes across, for the past two days. 

The movie starts with Stephen as a 21 year old student, studying in Cambridge University.  He meets Jane, a literature student and they become good friends.  Stephen submits a thesis on 'Black hole' which he thought  might have been part of the creation of the universe.  His professors appreciate this very much and the thesis gets accepted.  Jane and Stephen celebrate this and from that day onwards, they show him losing control of his muscles, slowly, step by step.  But he immerses himself in his research and one day he falls down with a thud  inside the campus.  He was taken to a hospital and is diagnosed that he has Motor Neuron disease.  He will not be able to talk, swallow or move most of his body and has around 2 years to live. He starts using wheelchair for moving around.  Jane still loves him and tells his father that she wanted to marry him.  They get married and have a son.

Stephen continues with his research in spite of his deteriorating health.  Jane takes care of the children, home and Stephen apart from being a research student.  They have another son too. Stephen asks her to relax and take some time for herself.  She joins a church choir group and starts singing, where she meets Jonathan, a widower who comes home to teach piano lessons to Stephen's son and helps the whole family. Well...I think I should stop writing the whole story here! You have to watch the movie and enjoy Stephen's naughtiness and sense of humour.  He is like that in real life, I read.

I think I have to explain about him some more! Later on, he loses his speech completely because of tracheotomy which was done after the pneumonia attack. They show Jane showing him a board with letters and words and pointing at them, asks him to blink his eye if 'yes', blink twice if it was a 'no' to express himself.  (This scene came in 'The diving bell and Butterfly movie, which is a biography of Jean Deminique Bauby, a famous writer. He wrote famous books using this method later!).  But a nurse,  coming home to take care of him introduces him to a computer with a built-in voice synthesiser.  This voice speaks with an American accent, which he comments later with a twinkle in his eye, yes, I could notice it! He starts attending seminars etc. with this gadget and becomes more famous because of his knowledge.  Gets more awards.  Writes a book called 'A Brief History of Time' which becomes world famous.  He is offered knighthood by the Queen but he refuses.  Life goes on...his words touched me:

However bad life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at.  While there is life, there is Hope.

Eddie Redmayne's acting as Stephen was superb.  I was reminded of the movie 'My left Foot' at some places. The main character, Christy Brown, on whom the movie was made, also was born with cerebral palsy.  He wrote books with his left foot and painted too! It too, was a touching movie. 

Well, again the above highlighted lines apply here! Great inspiring people.  

The real Stephen Hawking! A great, inspiring man! (Thanks, Wiki) Hawking taking a zero-gravity flight in a "Vomit Comet"

P.S.: I have to add this information which I got from this link, but is not in the movie about Stephen Hawking. 

Stephen Hawking (b. 1942) is an English theoretical physicist and cosmologist, whose scientific books and public appearances have made him an academic celebrity. His 1980 book A Brief History of Time was a break-out hit when first published, and has sold over 10 million copies, having been translated into over 30 languages. His other books include The Universe in a Nutshell (2001), The Grand Design (2010), and three children's books co-authored with his daughter Lucy Hawking, George's Secret Key to the Universe (2007), George's Cosmic Treasure Hunt (2009), and George and the Big Bang (2011). His life was also documented in a book by his first wife Jane Wilde Hawking, Travelling to Infinity – My Life with Stephen in 2008, which was adapted to film in 2014 as The Theory of Everything.

Hawking has appeared as himself, and lent his recognizable computer voice, in a number of TV series including Star Trek: The Next Generation, The Big Bang Theory and episodes of The Simpsons and Futurama. He has been portrayed on film by Benedict Cumberbatch, and Eddie Redmayne (Les Misérables), and has been the subject of, and appeared in, several documentaries including Errol Morris' A Brief History of Time (scored by Philip Glass), God, the Universe and Everything Else (with Arthur C. Clarke and Carl Sagan), and 2013's Hawking (featuring interviews with Cumberbatch, Buzz Aldrin, and Jim Carrey). Other appearances include being interviewed for the 2013 TV special Doctor Who Live: The Next Doctor, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, and appearing in sketches on Late Night with Conan O'Brien (via satellite) and Monty Python Live (Mostly) in 2014.

EDITED TO ADD ON 15TH MAY, '15: His daughter speaks here after the movie's hero got his Oscar for his role as Hawking. (click on the link pl.)

Another link:  "I think the film has shown Stephen things he probably didn’t know about my struggles, and how I really did try my best to support him over such a long period," she (Jane Hawking) said.

A 2001article in the 'Outlook' magazine:

I can feel this:  And then he looked up, and gave me a disarmingly boyish smile.

Feel really sorry to say that he is no more...He left this world on Wednesday, the 14th March, '18 at the age of 76



SG said...

Thanks for the wonderful review. I have seen the movie. It is a nice movie. Not extraordinary or ground breaking - but nice.

Sandhya said...

SG: Yes, it is not extraordinary but I admire the director for making a film on Stephen Hawking. Like me, everybody will think that it is going to be a documentary type movie, this was a surprise. It was not boring at all!

Destination Infinity said...

I want to see this movie. I have read one of his books, and couldn't understand half of it! *To my credit, I did understand the first half* :)

Destination Infinity

Rama Ananth said...

Thanks for the review. Must see this movie.

Sandhya said...

DESTINATION INFINITY: Jane, Stephen's wife explains in simple words about the Black hole. I thought I understood but when I tried to write about it, nothing came to me mind. There was a big 'black hole' in my mind!

This is a good movie. I admire the man who acted in the role and the man himself now, though I have read a lot about him in books.

RAMA ANANTH: You laugh...he makes you laugh and smile in many places. This is a good movie.

sm said...

While there is life, there is Hope
sums up all
nice review

Renu said...

havent seen this one..will try to now..

Onkar said...

Very apt review.

Joseph Pulikotil said...

Hello greetings and good wishes.

Excellent review of the movie which won the Academy award. WHERE THERE IS LIFE THERE IS HOPE are words worth remembering at all time. Many times when faced with difficulties and defeats we lose hope.

The best thing about Stephen Hawking is that he did not let his handicaps stop him from achieving fame and success. He stand tall like a giant among the community of men. He is to be admired and emulated.

However, it was a shock to me when Jane divorced him after taking care of him for many years and having three children with him.

In an interview to coincide with the release of the Hawking biopic “The Theory of Everything”, Jane said their life became “very complicated” after her husband achieved fame.

“I rather felt that the family had been left behind,” she told Radio Times. “To me, Stephen was my husband and the father of my children; one does not say to one’s husband, “Oh, you’re so clever! I must worship the ground under your feet, or in this case, wheels.” I found this kind of sycophantic attitude – the attitude adopted by so many people around Stephen – exceptionally frustrating and, of course, it grew a lot worse when we finally had to engage carers.”

She described the “exhaustion” she felt looking after someone with motor neurone disease and the “very traumatic” end to the relationship in 1990. “I was, I suppose, very innocent. I expected that carers came into the home to help look after the disabled person and respect the rest of the family. Very few of them did that. I was desperate; I didn’t think I could carry on, because I was so drained.”

What Jane did was a monumental sacrifice and I wonder whether Stephen ever acknowledged her role at any time.

Your excellent review makes me want to see the movie at the earliest opportunity.

Best wishes

Sandhya said...

sm: Thank you, sm!

RENU: You will like it, Renu!

ONKAR: Thank you, Onkar!

JOSEPH PULIKOTIL: I understand her situation. She never had time for herself or was able to give attention properly to the children. She was finding it difficult to finish her Ph.D. Taking care of a complete invalid is not easy. Still, she took care of him for so many years. And I feel, maybe, Stephen wanted her to take a break after meeting the nurse who started taking interest in her. I read somewhere that the nurse's husband fixed the synthesizer machine for him. That helped him to write the next book and be active until now, I think. HE MUST BE A GOOD HUMAN BEING AND DID NOT ALLOW HIS DRAWBACK TO BECOME A BITTER PERSON. He had and has got good friends even now to help him in the TV series, movies etc. I ADMIRE HIM a lot.

He acknowledged her by taking her along with him to visit the Queen after the divorce.

Thanks for the long comment, Joseph!

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